Looking good, feeling fit, exercising regularly and following a healthy lifestyle are choices no longer made by just celebrities and big wigs. Today, everyone wants to hop on the fitness bandwagon and feel energized. It has nothing to do with how old you are, how busy you are and what income group you fall under. With diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar getting diagnosed in peoples late 20s and early 30s, the importance of a healthy lifestyle just cannot be sidelined. There is a lot of information overload on this subject; everyone thinks that experimenting with your body is no big deal. They will keep trying hundreds of diets and fads and put their body through hell. They will go on strict diets for a while and when the deprivation gets to them, they will go on full blown binging mode. This crime and punishment definitely puts a huge strain on all body functions.
Today, more than ever, people are in serious need of expert guidance, motivation and knowledge when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. It is extremely important for people to place their fitness in the hands of a certified person, who is not only good at what he / she does, but also has the right attitude.
- When it comes to being a trainer / teacher / instructor, one thing is certain. There is no talking the talk without walking the walk. What does this mean? Nobody wants to learn about fitness or get trained from a person who doesn't look fit. If you treat your body like a temple, take working out extremely seriously and don't abuse your body in any way or form, then you can definitely consider a career as a fitness trainer.
- The right energy levels and enthusiasm are extremely important in a profession like this. It is not just about how fit you look, but do you actually like pushing people out of their comfort zones? Do you actually feel happy when someone sets a fitness goal and works really hard to achieve it? Do you have what it takes to be their friend, their cheerleader and give them exactly what they need? On some days, it may be scolding your client for doing it wrong, but on other days, it may be being compassionate because your client has had a rough day at work.
- The relationship between a fitness instructor and his client is definitely built on mutual respect and trust. When it comes to body image, there is always some emotional story attached to it. Most people, regardless of how fat or thin they are, have been picked on and bullied about their weight and appearance at some point. This is exactly why they need to train under someone who can motivate them and someone who they can trust. Tough love is definitely part of the game, but your client needs to know you care.
- Unlike a desk job, this job will require you to reach out more and have the ability to connect. In an industry like this, referrals are extremely important to keep getting business. If you are a go getter and you can easily make friends with people and connect with them, then you will have no trouble in being successful as a fitness trainer. This is a highly extroverted profession, as it constantly entails communicating in the right way - communicating with the clients, making sure that you are passing on the right information and communicating with others in the same industry to get referral business.
These are just some of the basic traits and personality types that can help you become a good and successful fitness trainer. Of course, there is a lot more to being a fitness trainer than just having a certain personality type.
Once you have decided that this is the industry you want to focus on, the next thing you need to finalize is the institute from where you can get your certification. When it comes to some professions, it is probably possible for people to just get hands on experience and make a career without getting any formal training or certification. Unfortunately, being a fitness trainer is not such a profession. Since you are dealing with other peoples health, fitness and bodies, it is highly imperative for you to have a thorough formal training and get certified from the right place.
- Finding out the reputation of the academy will help you in making the right choice. Talking to ex-students, visiting the academy, reading their manual and checking the course material will all assist you in determining the quality of the academy.
- If you already know a few people who are working as fitness trainers and are successful in what they have chosen, then make sure to find out as much information from them as possible. If you are unsure about how demanding the course can get, the kind of investment it requires, the amount of time it takes to actually start making a living after your training, then it is best to speak to someone who has experienced the same journey. This will also make choosing the right place to get trained easy.
- Just how you wouldn't want a surgeon with online certification, performing surgery on you, your clients would not want to train under instructors who have acquired their certification online. Distance learning of all things, will definitely not work in this field, and an academy that is promoting online courses should not be considered. This industry requires hands on learning and you need to choose an institute that has that forte.
- Fitness is one area that definitely needs a holistic approach. An institute that trains its students in all areas of fitness - exercise, nutrition and recovery. This will give rise to trainers who are equipped to handle the clients comprehensively to ensure optimal results.
Choosing the right academy is a big career decision, for anyone who wants to dedicate his/her life to becoming a successful fitness instructor. This decision has to be made after taking all the above mentioned facts into consideration.
Dealing with different kinds of clients as a personal trainer :
Being a fitness trainer definitely means dealing with different kinds of people. You may have clients who are teenagers and extremely enthusiastic about their fitness goals. You may also have middle aged working professionals who have probably neglected their health and fitness for a long time, but are now very keen on making a lifestyle change. Since the audience you are dealing with changes with each new client, it goes without saying that your job may need you to dial it up or dial it down depending on who is in front of you.
Young women and men :
Women are a lot more sensitive about their appearance and they probably need a slightly refined approach when it comes to a personal trainer. A young woman in her late teens or early twenties may be more concerned about losing weight than being fit and healthy. As a trainer, it is your responsibility to explain to her what being fit is all about and how it is so much more than just losing a few kilos. Other than showing them the exercise routine and pushing them to put their best foot forward, it is imperative that you talk to them about the connection of fitness and overall health at their age.
When it comes to dealing with people in this age bracket, it helps befriending them and putting yourself in their shoes. With young boys and men, the goal is probably to look less paunchy or change the image of being overly skinny. Men in this age group will probably be a lot more obsessed about weight training and protein shakes and may want to avoid doing any form of cardio. After assessing their lifestyle and body type, you need to give them correct guidance as what they need to implement in and outside the gym for best results.
Working Professionals :
The work culture today is nothing like it used to be two decades ago. Today, most people working in corporate organizations are eating too much junk food, watching too much TV, sleeping too little and hardly exercising. After five to ten years of leading a sedentary and poor lifestyle, most of them wake up one fine day when their body starts showing signs of early aging and they severely start detesting what they see when they stand in front of the mirror. This lot is probably the most challenging lot to work with, as a personal trainer.
Most working people in this age group are under constant pressure - social obligations, family issues, work stress, and health problems. They are always pressed for time and they probably have to work a lot harder than others to squeeze in a regular workout. These people need a cheerleader and motivator when it comes to their personal trainer. They need someone who can help them focus and forget all their other problems when they walk through those gym doors and workout. The chances of these people backing out of their commitment may happen often, but as a trainer you will have to keep encouraging them and pushing them by showing them the big picture.
Take the example of a new mom in her early thirties, who has just resumed work after three months of maternal leave. She obviously has to make a big effort to implement a workout in her already hectic life. A trainer that doesn't understand her situation and schedule will not be able to work with her long term.
Clients with special needs :
There are some people who have specific physical ailments, but are highly committed to their fitness goals. For these clients, it is highly imperative for the personal trainer to have adequate knowledge about their physical condition, their shortcomings and their lifestyle in general. A personal trainer interested in taking on such clients needs a slightly different aptitude than someone whose primary forte is deal with regular clients. He/she may have to undergo special training and get another certification, depending on the type of client and his/her ailment.
A trainer who is not academically trained to deal with such clients, or a trainer that doesn't have the mental aptitude and patience needed for such clients, should by all means refrain from taking on clients that need special attention. Remember, people's well-being and their physical health are at stake here and you need to be sensitive towards that.
Problematic clients :
Virtually all professions may need you to deal with difficult people from time to time. And personal training is no exception. You may come across a client that does not respect your time, or doubts your skills or may act difficult in other ways from time to time. It is imperative for you to not take these quirks personally and focus more on what needs to be done.
When it comes to personal training, it is important for your client to trust you and respect you, in order to take what you do seriously. This is exactly why you need to carry yourself with respect, dignity and grace to make a name in this profession and achieve long term success. It all starts with one happy client who achieved his fitness goals under your wings; in this business word of mouth and referrals are extremely important.
Your focus always has to be on constantly improving your skills as this is an ever-evolving industry and you can never know too much.
What will give you the edge?
No matter what career you choose, or how good you are at what you do, you simply cannot deny the fact that things can get pretty competitive. In any profession today, if you let go even a little, there is always someone younger, more enthusiastic and willing to do the job for less, waiting in line. Just getting certified from the best academy isn't going to cut it. It can definitely be a stepping stone towards a great career in fitness training, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be willing to go the extra mile and get the edge.
Getting your certification from the right academy surely makes a big difference. The team in question can totally make or break your career. It is not just about learning the right techniques, but also about acquiring the finesse and grooming yourself to create a strong differentiating factor.